Family Sharing Coming to Steam

Valve announced today Steam Family Sharing, which will allow you to share your games library with up to 10 other people.

How the family sharing essentially works is that once you’ve authorized another person to access your games library, they will be able to install and play whatever game you have in your collection. Specific games cannot be shared, as once you’ve authorized another user, your entire library will be available to them.


Two people will also be unable to play the same game at the same time. For example, if your brother is currently playing Bioshock Infinite, and you decide to started playing Bioshock Infinite as well, your brother will have a few minutes to decide whether to purchase the game before he is kicked off. As such, the original user will always have full control over his or her games.

However, there will still be some restrictions in place. Due to certain technical limitations, not all Steam games can be shared. If a game requires an extra third party key, account, or subscription, then that game will most likely be unable to be shared. Region locked content cannot also be shared over regions.

Also, because entire libraries and not specific games are being shared, only one user may access a shared library at a time, even if both users want to play different games.

Regarding DLC, a borrower has full access to all of the DLC the lender originally bought, but the borrower cannot buy additional DLC for a game they do not fully own.

Family sharing can be enabled by simply going into your account settings and turning it on, or by responding to a user’s Steam request via email to share your games.


The idea of family sharing was originally started by the Xbox One as one of its main features, but as Microsoft reversed all of its online and DRM policies, the family sharing concept seem to fall by the wayside.

The family sharing feature will first be available in a limited beta that will release mid-September. A detailed FAQ on Steam’s official page provides more information on how to sign up for the beta.